Patho Patho #30

Question

A diabetic client asks the nurse why he feels so thirsty at times. The nurse’s best response is:

Answers

  1. “The thirst you experience is called polydipsia and alerts you when your blood glucose has dropped too low.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because polydipsia is an indicator that blood glucose levels are elevated as opposed to decreased.

  2. “Polydipsia, or extreme hunger, is a result of cellular starvation when there is not enough insulin present to allow glucose in.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because polydipsia is extreme thirst. Polyphagia is the hunger that diabetic clients experience when glucose is elevated.

  3. “The thirst you have when your sugar is elevated is caused by fluid loss and also helps to “dilute” the high amount of glucose in your blood.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because polydipsia, or extreme thrust, alerts diabetic clients to elevated blood glucose. By triggering thirst and drinking, the client will help decrease serum osmolality by diluting the serum with fluid. This will also help promote excretion of excess glucose through the urine.

  4. “Polyuria, or extreme thirst, occurs as your body’s response to excessive fluid within the serum when your blood sugar drops.”
    • Rationale:

      This answer choice is not correct because polyuria refers to excessive urination in response to elevated serum glucose levels. Extreme thirst experienced by diabetic clients is referred to as polydipsia.

Overview

The focus of this question is asking the nurse to provide education to a diabetic client regarding the cause of excessive thirst. This is referred to as polydipsia and usually indicates that a diabetic client is hyperglycemic. Hyperglycemia elevates serum osmolality, causing the client to feel thirsty as a result. When the client responds to the feeling of thirst by drinking, it helps to dilute the glucose within the blood and therefore decrease serum osmolality.

Explanation

Learning Outcomes

Polydipsia is the feeling of extreme thirst experienced by diabetic clients usually indicating hyperglycemia. Clients may also feel very hungry (polyphagia) and experience heavy periods of urination (polyuria). Polydipsia occurs in response to elevated serum osmolality caused by the presence of large amounts of glucose. By responding to the feeling of thirst by drinking, clients will dilute the serum, decrease serum osmolality, and promote excretion of excess glucose through the urine.

Test Taking Tip

Make sure to learn and understand the “3 P’s” of hyperglycemia: Polydipsia, polyuria, and polyphagia.

Video Rationale